Welcoming Community Initiative

In recent years we’ve seen a decline in our overall population which has led to the challenge of fulfilling jobs needed to support our businesses that serve residents and visitors. What can we do to encourage interest in our area, rebuild our population, and fulfill the staffing needs we have? We at Rotary feel we can better leverage our area by building a welcoming community for all. Welcoming communities are safer, stronger, and more vibrant. They are inclusive places where neighbors get to know one another. Being a welcoming community is about inviting everyone to join us in building a strong community and finding strength in diversity.

Our initiative aims to encourage people to recognize that we have far more in common than not. If we can do that, we will be able to do so much to encourage potential new residents to our area, creating a climate where everyone can integrate into our community and invest their time, money, and hopes in our area.

To that effort the Rotary Club of International Falls, with support from the Episcopal Church in Minnesota; Friends Against Abuse; and Minnesota North College – Rainy River Campus, has coordinated a speaker series to be held during the fall and winter of 2022 / 23. This season’s presentations will focus on changes in Minnesota and regional demographics followed by a presenter that will provide context to what makes a welcoming community and why it is important. Speakers in January and February will share perspectives from groups in our community that may be under-represented.

The Welcoming Community Initiative Speaker Series is a multi-year project that aims to prepare leaders and residents for the future vitality of International Falls and Koochiching County. As residents, we recognize our area has many positive benefits and attributes while we also recognize there are challenges we can work together to overcome.

The presentations are free to attend but, registration is appreciated. Presentations will be held at MN North College – Rainy River Campus Theater from 5:00-6:30 p.m.

To register, click the link to see all presentations https://www.eventbrite.com/o/rotary-of-ifalls-welcoming-community-initiative-53104043293

December 7th, 2022 – Amber Lewis, Welcoming Community Program Coordinator from Northspan will do a public presentation sharing successes of welcoming communities and efforts taking place in northeastern Minnesota associated with this effort.

January 11th, 2023 – Dr. Anton Treuer, of Bemidji State University, will conduct a presentation on his perspective as an advocate for Ojibwe culture.

February 15th, 2023 – Deacon Ross Murray, Senior Director of Education and Training for The GLAAD Media Institute, will be present on growing up gay in the Borederland and becoming a LGBTQ2 advocate.